PR Fish Bowl

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September 12, 2016

A Journalist’s POV: 3 Questions From A PR Agency

John Turiano

John Turiano

When putting together a media strategy for a new project, creative public relations teams know to look for ways to work with popular local or regional pubs. Of course, this works best when the company or organization is based in the area, but it doesn’t always have to be the case. If your story has resonance to residents of Westchester County, look to John Bruno Turiano, longtime senior editor of premiere regional publication, Westchester Magazine. John is very open to story ideas and the magazine covers a wide variety of topics spanning the area and the world. You just have to know how to communicate effectively. John was good enough to answer our “three questions from a PR agency” for this post.

What is one thing every PR person should know about pitching Westchester Magazine?  We are perennially swamped! Anything you can do to make your story idea as short and to the point as possible provides you a better opportunity for consideration. Westchester Magazine has a small, tight and busy core staff and a cadre of equally busy freelancers covering everything from restaurants and shopping to arts and entertainment and real estate. Because we move so fast and are always on deadline, we appreciate brief, super-focused pitches that tell us everything we need to know. Read the magazine, know the section and the editor and write your pitch like you were writing the story.

Any inside tips on forging/improving a relationship with a writer? Although it should be part of PR 101, I would stress the importance of not trying to “sell” the writer on a client but instead giving us information (preferably with high-res photos) that will likely match/fit into our columns. The magazine also follows an editorial calendar and generally doesn’t deviate as so many residents rely on our popular annual issues including  “Fall Getaways” in the current edition as well as “Top Doctors” in November, Best Of in July, and many more. I’d also counsel PR pros to attend one or more of the various events the magazine sponsors to get to know the writers and editors who always attend. “These are real opportunities to get to know magazine staffers in a non-pitch environment and talk about other topics.” Finally, despite busy schedules, Westchester editors will have the occasional lunch or drinks and many longstanding relationships have been forged just that way.

What is the key to creating a subject line worthy of your attention? Forget the flash; make it smart and quickly tell us what the press release or angle is about – and most importantly, why our readers will care. Even in the case of a story with a less-than-obvious tie to the area, if you can make a non-local story relevant to our readers, we will sit up and take notice.

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